Im Getting Ready – (Michael Kiwanuka)
As of today’s date, the world population is estimated by the United States Census Bureau to be 7.305 billion…well 8 years ago I don’t know what those numbers were estimated to be, but for one night in particular I felt like that number could only be 2…me and my cellmate. I remember sitting in the Lafayette County Detention Center in Oxford, MS…I was embarrassed, ashamed, angry, and frustrated because I had just been arrested for the first time in my life…but I had no idea that all of those feelings would disappear in the first 30 minutes…
When I was a kid I can remember waiting at the end of my driveway at the street for my dad to get home from work. Our driveway had this backwards “h” shape to it with two entrances in the front. It was a semi-circle in the front of the house that wrapped around to right side of the house all the way to the back garage and parking area. One of my favorite things to do was to get him to stop right before he turned into the driveway. I would ask him to roll down his window and he would let me stand on the running boards. I would hang on tight outside with my two hands on the door as he drove slowly through our driveway to the back of the house…he said as long I held on tight with both hands he would let me ride with him to the end of the driveway…
The night I was arrested I remember a police officer putting both of his hands on my car door and asking me to step out…He must have been watching me because I had been sitting in my car with the windows rolled down for awhile in downtown Oxford, MS. I had been out drinking with friends…and now I was alone and contemplating whether or not I should drive home. The problem for me from a legal point of view was that I had started the car, it wasn’t in gear, but it had been started…and I remember the officer just looked at me for a minute and for whatever reason decided to cut me a break. He said, “Son, I’m gonna give you two choices, but both end with you going to jail…you can make choice number 1 by cooperating with me right now and receive a public intoxication or you can make choice number 2 and receive a d.u.i…but I’m giving you a free choice.” I remember sitting there, thinking about everything and what was about to happen next…I turned the car off, put my head down, and got out of the car where he was waiting to arrest me. I chose choice number 1…I fully cooperated but I was still upset. I remember as the handcuffs went on how angry I felt at myself and the officer. I felt like I didn’t do anything wrong! (Yet…looking back now this man could have not only been saving my life but also the lives of others that night…) But in the end I was just embarrassed…I knew I had made a mistake and I used bad judgement. I remember the whole process of getting handcuffed, placed in the back seat, the drive to the jail, and getting into the jail…They put me in a big cell, but it was just me and one other person…the detention center on this night, closed off from the rest of the world, was population: 2. My cellmate was a man that looked to be in his 40’s, he also had an embarrassed look on his face, but he kept his head down for the most part and didn’t say anything. About 30 minutes go by and he finally says something to me. I was so busy thinking about what would have happened if I made different choices that I almost didn’t hear him. But before I could get any more upset I heard him say, “Hey man…hey what happened tonight?” So we swapped stories…and his story I will never forget…To sum it up for this post he had basically assaulted his wife and son that night…He had beat them both…and his own son had called the police on him in fear that he would do more harm to them. I sat there listening to his whole story and thought he was probably planning on doing more harm after he got out so I asked him, “Well what are you gonna do when you get out of here?” What he said next was the last thing I thought this man would say…he made me all my thoughts of anger and fear disappear…he made me realize that even in a jail cell God can show up…And it’s been a long time since that night but I remember he looked at me for a minute and said, “The first thing? I’m just gonna thank God man…then I’m gonna ask them if they will forgive me…that’s all I want, I just want them to forgive me…”
Can you remember a time in your life when all you wanted was somebody to forgive you? Are you trying to find that one reason to hold on to faith right now because you feel too ashamed to ask for help? Maybe you feel like I did, maybe you just made a bad decision…and you want help…but you just don’t know how to get it. Can you really be forgiven? Can God really show up in the darkest places of your life? Can we learn to let go of our fears and hold on to our faith?
“Oh my, I didn’t know how hard it would be. Oh my, I didn’t know how hard it would be. But if I hold on tight is it true? Would you take care of all that I do? Oh Lord, I’m getting ready to believe…”
Michael Samuel Kiwanuka is a British soul songwriter from Muswell Hill, North London. He is the son of Ugandan parents, both of which escaped the deadly Idi Amin Dada regime. I’m Getting Ready is the second track from his 2012 acoustic folk/retro soul debut album titled Home Again, which put Kiwanuka at the top of BBC’s Sound of 2012 poll. Kiwanuka has even had the pleasure of teaming up with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys in his London recordings for Home Again. When asked about this song in particular, his writing style, and the obvious hints of Christianity, Kiwanuka simply says, “I’m just a spiritual person…and you can put things in a song sometimes you can’t really say. It’s a song about keeping faith…and I never get bored of singing that one…”
Mark 10:27 | Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”
7.305 billion people…sure seems impossible sometimes to think God can love us all…but there is nothing that God cannot do…kind of like Population 2…sometimes it needs to just come down to you and Him. You may feel like you have been in prison for a long time with no one to talk to. You feel like its just you, one person, trying to do everything on your own. I felt like that all the time! But God wants it to be Population: 2…you and Him. He will hear you…and he wants you to listen to Him too. I chose Kiwanuka’s song, which is less than 3 minutes long, because every time I hear it I am always reminded about times in my life like the night of Population: 2. He sums it all up perfectly…I felt all alone. I felt knocked down. But it was always in these moments that God would just show up…and this time it was through a night spent with a cellmate desperately wanting forgiveness from his wife and son. I never saw my cellmate again but he taught me to let go of my fears of not being forgiven…he taught me to hold on to faith. I pray that he discovered the truth that he is always truly forgiven in Christ…and I am actually thankful for him and the officer showing up that night and offering me my free choice.
The Population: 2 Challenge is to seek someone out in your life who has forgiven you in the past…and show them the virtue of love in its true form because love binds everything together in perfect unity. Just have faith in this challenge. I didn’t have strong faith 8 years ago. It felt like a constant game of tug-of-war…If my faith were in the form of a rope back then, I think my end was always the frayed end getting harder and harder to hold on to but God would just never seem to let go of His end…and He never did. Kiwanuka sings out “But if I hold on tight is it true? Would you take care of all that I do?” So will God really take care of all that we do? Yes, yes, and yes…I still remember holding on tight to my dad’s car door…and it was just me and my dad, and he would drive the car safely all the way to the end of our driveway…Hold on tight to what you feel God is telling you, let Him drive your life because his hands are always steady on the wheel…and if you feel like getting ready to believe, then do it! It’s a free choice…We are never promised another day in this current population. So get out of your prison…God has the key and will open the door for you. You will be forgiven and you will be free! He sent us his only Son to save all of mankind…that’s not just population: 2….that’s the entire world population…and He did this because He is God, because He is real, and because He is = LOVE. Nothing is impossible…
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Watch, listen, and share what happens when you decide to live the next 10 days in love.
(Listen below to I’m Getting Ready by Michael Kiwanuka)
(Feature post photo by Alexandre Vanier)
If you are just joining Ten Days In Love and missed any previous posts click the links below: